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December 3, 2001

Chamber Survey Shows Business Insurance Gap Could Spell Disaster in Lawsuits, Catastrophic Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 4, 2001 – The United States Chamber of Commerce today highlighted the need for more affordable and reliable insurance options to help businesses cope with increased risks, releasing a survey showing business owners are concerned that major lawsuits or uninsured claims could drive them out of business.

“Businesses are worried about increased liability, but many remain underinsured,” said Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue. “In post-911, companies large and small are reexamining their insurance needs, and many current strategies are coming up short.”

Three-fourths of Chamber members surveyed expressed major concern that without adequate insurance coverage, their company could be bankrupted by a sizeable lawsuit or uninsured claim. Yet, nearly one-half reported that recent internal policy reviews have revealed the need to obtain new or expanded coverage.

In addition, less than one-half of respondents reported having employment-practices coverage for sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination. And only one-third of respondents reporting concern about the exposure of their executives’ and directors’ personal wealth to the company’s liabilities said they have directors and officers liability coverage that protects it.

“There is a critical need out there that is not being met,” said Donohue. “That’s why the Chamber is joining with American International Group to offer businesses of all sizes access to top-quality property, casualty, specialty and employee-benefits insurance.”

Under the new program, the member companies of AIG will offer ChamberFirst, a comprehensive insurance program, to U.S. Chamber members, with incentives ranging from competitive premiums, to extended coverage terms, to automatic policy renewal.

ChamberFirst provides 12 different insurance lines, including commercial liability, workers’ comp, employment-practices liability, and directors and officers personal liability protection. Additional offerings are planned in the coming months.

“The Chamber believes that ChamberFirst is the right product, at the right time, with the right partner,” said Donohue.

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